A pastor in Sullivan City, Texas says that he will preach while carrying a concealed handgun following a recent mass shooting at a church elsewhere in the state.
Jamie Chapa of El Faro Bible Church says that last Sunday’s violence in Sutherland Springs, Texas has also convinced him to similarly arm some of his congregation’s parishioners.
“When they said, ‘A congregation of 50,’ I said, ‘That’s our congregation,’” he said during a Wednesday interview with KRGV.
“This will never happen at El Faro,” Chapa added. “It will never happen. What happened in Sutherland Springs will not ever happen in our church.”
Chapa said he is licensed to carry a concealed handgun, adding that other licensed parishioners will carry guns as well.
“There will be three armed persons at all times at every service,” said Chapa, who has led El Faro’s congregation for 30 years.
“Nobody need to know who they are,” he added, noting paid security guards are financially infeasible for the small church. “But our church will be protected.”
Devin Kelley opened fire at First Baptist Church last Sunday, killing at least 26 people and injuring at least 20 more roughly 260 miles away from Sullivan City, according to Google Maps.
The shooter was eventually found dead of a seemingly self-inflicted gunshot wound later Sunday after fleeing the scene of the crime.
KHOU 11 News on Tuesday reported that Kelley had escaped from a mental health facility in New Mexico in 2012.
Kelley had been sent to the Peak Behavioral Health Services Center in Santa Teresa, New Mexico after beating his wife and child.
A military court in 2012 also convicted Kelley of assaulting both relatives, including fracturing his young stepson’s skull.
The then-Air Force member served one years’ confinement for the charges, and he also received a bad conduct discharge and a reduction to the service’s lowest rank.
Sunday’s massacre now ranks as the worst mass shooting in Texas history, as well as the worst mass shooting at a place of worship in modern U.S. history.